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Part Eleven

Implosion

‘Mobbed Up’ podcast: ‘Implosion — Part 11’

Updated July 28, 2020 - 8:28 am

Seemingly against the odds, Frank Cullotta is still standing — no small feat, considering he flipped on one of the most powerful criminal organizations in U.S. history.

After a 1981 arrest for attempted burglary, the former Chicago Outfit associate became a government witness in 1982 in exchange for a reduced sentence. Cullotta, who would ultimately admit to involvement in four murders, also received immunity from prosecution for any crimes he would testify to.

Dust hangs in the air after the Stardust hotel-casino was imploded early Tuesday morning, March ...
Dust hangs in the air after the Stardust hotel-casino was imploded early Tuesday morning, March 13, 2007, on the Las Vegas Strip. (John Gurzinski/Las Vegas Review-Journal File)

By the time Cullotta had fulfilled his obligation to the government, his testimony had contributed to four murder indictments in Illinois, five burglary and armed robbery indictments in Nevada and 19 federal racketeering indictments. The 28 cases resulted in 21 convictions, reaching the top levels of the Chicago Outfit.

Cullotta says he has gone by several different names since those days, but he has returned to living under his own name. Now 81 years old, Cullotta lives a public life in Las Vegas, even leading tours up to seven days a week.

The iconic Stardust hotel-casino is imploded on Tuesday, March 13, 2007, in Las Vegas. The Stardust opened July 2, 1958, billing itself as the world’s largest resort hotel with 1,032 rooms. (John Gurzinski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

“I’m getting used to my own name again, writing it down. Sometimes I go to write the wrong name down,” Cullotta says with a chuckle.

The former career criminal has managed to outlive the old guard of the Chicago Outfit, a feat he chalks up to a blend of luck and smarts.

“I’m probably the only guy standing right now out of Chicago,” Cullotta says.

Dust from the Stardust Casino impolsion envelopes the Circus Circus as people walk back to thei ...
Dust from the Stardust Casino impolsion envelopes the Circus Circus as people walk back to their cars on the top floor of the Circus Circus parking lot after watching the event early in the morning on Tuesday, March 13, 2007. (John Locher/Las Vegaas Review-Journal File)

‘Mobbed Up — Part 11: Implosion’

On the final episode of “Mobbed Up,” Cullotta tells of his life since he became a government witness in 1982, dating back to his time living in the U.S. Marshals Service Witness Security Program.

The finale also examines the end of traditional organized crime in Las Vegas and re-examines a question posed at the start of the series: Was Las Vegas better off when it was mobbed up?

I’m getting used to my own name again, writing it down. Sometimes I go to write the wrong name down.

Frank Cullotta

Frank Cullotta points to one of the sites on his mob tour of Las Vegas. The former mob associat ...
Frank Cullotta points to one of the sites on his mob tour of Las Vegas. The former mob associate has resumed living under his own name after years of living under assumed identities for his own protection. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Where and how to listen

“Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas” is available for free on all major podcasting platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and more.

Search for “Mobbed Up” on your preferred mobile podcasting app and tap “subscribe” or “follow,” or click here to listen to the series on the Review-Journal website.

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